By David Faust
The word itself sounds ugly: mock. The deed is uglier still, and we know it when we see it.
An insensitive bystander ridicules a person with a physical disability. An impatient driver makes rude gestures as he swings his car into the passing lane and zooms past the vehicle driven slowly (and safely) by a senior adult.
Crude basketball fans chant obscenities and jeer an opposing player. A coworker tells a racist joke. A comedian scoffs at faith in God. Schoolkids make fun of another child’s speech impediment.
A haughty intellectual uses social media to deride believers. An employee belittles her coworkers and shows contempt for her boss. In lands where they represent a tiny minority of the population, Christians endure persecution and harassment.
If it’s ugly to mock a human being, it’s even worse to mock God. The key is a person’s attitude. Vigorous dialogue is part of any healthy personal relationship, including our walk with God. Throughout history believers have questioned God, pleaded with God, and wrestled with God—but that’s different from mocking him. The Psalms include many hard-hitting prayers in which those who love the Lord passionately pour out their heartaches and complaints. (The Lord can take it when we’re honest with him.)
It’s one thing to question the Lord, but it’s another to scoff at him. The psalmist doesn’t understand why the Lord would put up with such rudeness. He cries out, “How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand . . . ?” (Psalm 74:10, 11). The psalmist continues, “Remember how the enemy has mocked you, lord, how foolish people have reviled your name. . . . Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long. Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually” (vv. 18, 22, 23).
Why would the Creator tolerate even for a moment the mockery of those he created? Why would the holy Lord subject himself to ridicule and scorn?
The Cruelest Mockery of All
I wonder if the disciples thought about Psalm 74 when they saw what Jesus endured on Good Friday as the blameless Son of God endured the irreverent mockery of men. Soldiers stripped Jesus, put a staff in his hand and a crown of thorns on his head, “knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again” (Matthew 27:28-30).
At the cross “those who passed by hurled insults at him,” and religious leaders mocked Jesus for claiming to save others when, fastened by nails and bleeding to death, he couldn’t even save himself. “The rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him” (Matthew 27:39-44), though one of the thieves repented and sought a place in Christ’s coming kingdom (Luke 23:42).
If you ever face misunderstanding, ridicule, or any other form of suffering, you have a sympathetic friend in Jesus. In the long run “God cannot be mocked” (Galatians 6:7). Good Friday’s mockery gave way to Easter’s victory.
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of THE LOOKOUT.
1 Corinthians 1:1–17
Joshua 1, 2
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
1 Corinthians 2
Joshua 6, 7
1 Corinthians 3
Joshua 8, 9
1 Corinthians 4
1 Corinthians 5
Joshua 13, 14
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